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Pulitzer, Joseph 

The School of 
Journalism in Columbia 
University. 



4791 

C7 

1904 

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ROBA 




in 



Columbia University 



The Power of Public Opinion 



By 

JOSEPH PULITZER 



Published by 

(Exrlmnfoia 
Hue itjj 

Morningside Heights 
New York, N. Y. 



The School of Journalism 



in 



Columbia University 



The Power of Public Opinion 



By 
JOSEPH PULITZER 



Published by 

Columbia 
in tfo* itjj 0f 

Morningside Heights 
New York, N. Y. 




ELECTKON'C VERSION 
AVAILABLE 




The School of Journalism in 
Columbia University 1 



A Review of Criticisms and Objections Reflections Upon the Power, the 
Progress and the Prejudices of the Press Why Specialized Concentration 
and Education at College Would Improve the Character and Work of Jour- 
nalists and So Promote the Welfare of the Republic. 

" The man who writes, the man who month in and month out, week in and week out, day in and 
day out, furnishes the material which is to shape the thoughts of our people, is essentially the man who 
more than any other determines the character of the people and the- kind of government this people shall 
possess." PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT, April 7, 1904. 

THE editor of The North American Review has asked me to 
reply to an article recently printed in its pages criticising the 
College of Journalism which I have endowed as part of Columbia 
University. In complying with his request 1 have enlarged the 
scope of the reply to include all other criticisms and misgivings, 
many honest, some shallow, some based on misunderstanding, 
but the most representing only prejudice and ignorance. If my 
comment upon these criticisms shall seem to be diffuse and per- 
haps repetitious, my apology is that alas ! I am compelled to 
write by voice, not pen, and to revise the proofs by ear, not eye 
a somewhat difficult task. 

1 Reprinted by special permission from The North American Review for May, 1904. Copyright, 
1904, by the North American Review Publishing Co. 

1 



Some of my critics have called my scheme " visionary." If it 
be so I can at least plead that it is a vision I have cherished long, 
thought upon deeply and followed persistently. Twelve years 
ago I submitted the idea to President Low of Columbia, but it 
was not accepted by the Trustees. I have ever since continued 
to perfect and organize the scheme in my mind, and now it is 
adopted. In examining the criticisms and misgivings I have been 
anxious only to find the truth. I admit that the difficulties are 
many, but after weighing them all impartially I am more firmly 
convinced than ever of the ultimate success of the idea. Before 
the century closes schools of journalism will be generally accepted 
as a feature of specialized higher education, like schools of law or 
of medicine. 

And now for our critics and objectors : 

Must journal- They object, the critics and cavillers, that a " newspaper man " 
1st Be " Bom "? mus ^ depend solely upon natural aptitude, or, in the common 
phrase, that he must be "born, not made." 

Perhaps the critics can name some great editor, born full- 
winged like Mercury, the messenger of the gods? 1 know of 
none. The only position that occurs to me which a man in our 
Republic can successfully fill by the simple fact of birth is that of 
an idiot. Is there any other position for which a man does not 
demand and receive training training at home, training in schools 
and colleges, training by master craftsmen, or training through 
bitter experience through the burns that make the child dread 
the fire, through blunders costly to the aspirant ? 

This last is the process by which the profession of journalism 
at present obtains its recruits. It works by natural selection and 
the survival of the fittest, and its failures are strewn along the 
wayside. 

The " born editor " who has succeeded greatly without special 



preparation is simply a man with unusual ability and aptitude for 
his chosen profession, with great power of concentration and 
sustained effort. He is one who loves his work and puts his 
whole heart and mind into it. He is in the strictest sense an 
educated man, but he has merely substituted s//-education for 
education by others, making up for any deficiencies in his train- 
ing by the unreserved sacrifice of strength, energy and pleasure. 
Even in his case might it not be an advantage to have a system 
of instruction that would give him the same results at a saving of 
much time and labor ? 

Education begins in the cradle, at home, with a mother's 
teaching, and is continued by other influences through life. A 
college is one of those influences useful, but with no magical 
power. A fool trailing an alphabet of degrees after his name is 
still a fool ; and a genius, if necessary, will make his own college, 
although with a painful waste of effort which might be better 
reserved for productive work. I seem to remember that Lincoln, 
whose academy was a borrowed book read by the light of a pine- 
knot on the hearth, studied Euclid in Congress when nearly forty. 
But would it not have been better if that work had been done at 
fourteen ? 

All intelligence requires development. The highest profits 
by it; the lowest is helpless without it. Shakespeare's best 
play, Hamlet, was not his first, but his nineteenth, written 
after growth and maturity after the hard work, the experience, the 
exercise of faculties and the accumulation of knowledge gained 
by writing eighteen plays. As Shakespeare was a " born " genius, 
why did he not write Hamlet first ? 

John Stuart Mill had natural talents, but they were strained to 
the last possible limit of accomplishment by a course of early 
training that was not only thorough but inhuman. His father 



was his college a great college, better than any in England. 
Like Mill, Herbert Spencer, Buckle, Huxley, Tyndall and Lewes 
were without college education, but their mental discipline was 
most severe. Cobden was undoubtedly a genius born, but if we 
compare his original style turgid, clumsy with the masterly 
clearness and force of his trained maturity, can we doubt that his 
brain was developed by the hardest work, just as Sandow's 
muscles were developed ? 

Of course in every field natural aptitude is the key to success. 
When the experiment was tried of turning Whistler into a dis- 
ciplined soldier even West Point had to lay down its arms. Your 
sawmill may have all the modern improvements, but it will not 
make a pine board out of a basswood log. No college can create 
a good lawyer without a legal mind to work on, nor make a suc- 
cessful doctor of a young man whom nature designed to sell tape. 
Talleyrand took holy orders, but they did not turn him into a 
holy man. 

The great general, even more than the great editor, is supposed 
to be born, not made. The picturesque historian tells us that he 
" fell like a thunderbolt upon the enemy," and we imagine a mira- 
cle-working magician. But the truth is that the brilliant general 
is simply a man who has learned how to apply skilfully the natu- 
ral laws of force, and who has the nerve to act on his knowledge. 
Hannibal, the greatest of all in my opinion, is called a typical ex- 
ample of native military genius. But can we forget that he was 
the son and pupil of Hamilcar, the ablest soldier of his generation, 
born in the camp, never outside the military atmosphere, sworn 
in earliest boyhood to war and hatred of Rome and endowed by 
his father with all the military knowledge that the experience of 
antiquity could give ? He was educated. In his father he had a 
military college to himself. Can we think of Napoleon without 



remembering that he had the best military education of his time 
at the college of Brienne, and that he was always an eager student 
of the great campaigns of history ? Frederick the Great lost his 
head in his first battle. It took him years to learn his trade and 
finally to surpass his instructors. There is not a cadet at any 
military school who is not expected as a necessary part of his pro- 
fessional preparation to study every important battle on record 
to learn how it was fought, what mistakes were committed on 
each side and how it was won. 

Every issue of a newspaper represents a battle a battle for 
excellence. When the editor reads it and compares it with its 
rivals he knows that he has scored a victory or suffered a defeat. 
Might not the study of the most notable of these battles of the 
press be as useful to the student of journalism as is the study of 
military battles to the student of war ? 

They object that news instinct must be born. 

Certainly. But however great a gift, if news instinct as born 
were turned loose in any newspaper office in New York without 
the control of sound judgment bred by considerable experience 
and training, the results would be much more pleasing to the law- 
yers than to the editor. One of the chief difficulties in journalism 
now is to keep the news instinct from running rampant over the 
restraints of accuracy and conscience. And if " a nose for news " 
is born in the cradle, does not the instinct, like other great quali- 
ties, need development by teaching, by training, by practical 
object-lessons illustrating the good and the bad, the Right and 
the Wrong, the popular and the unpopular, the things that suc- 
ceed and the things that fail, and, above all, the things that deserve 
to succeed and the things that do not not the things only that 
make circulation for to-day, but the things that make character 
and influence and public confidence ? 



Can Conscience " Of the ends to be kept in view by the legislator, all are unimportant compared to the end of ' char- 

Be Develooed ? *ctec-niaking.' This alone is national education." HERBERT SPENCER. 

They object that moral character, like news instinct, cannot 
be made, but must be born. This is a very serious objection, for 
to me an editor without moral character has nothing. But is it 
entirely true? Have not the critics themselves reached their 
present moral altitude by degrees ? Training cannot create tem- 
perament, I admit, nor perhaps radically change it ; but is not 
conscience different from temperament ? Is it not largely a ques- 
tion of education ? May it not be considered more an acquired 
than an inherited or inherent quality ? Is there not some reason 
to believe that conscience is largely a question of climate and 
geography ? As Macaulay said : " Child murder in London leads 
to the scaffold ; on the Ganges it is an honored religious sacrifice." 
A Hindu widow who burned herself to death on her husband's 
funeral pyre was performing the highest duty imposed by her 
moral sense. The English regarded her sacrifice as not only a 
crime, but the act of an incredible fool, and suppressed it in callous 
disregard of the protests of her shocked conscience. 

Many an English or American married woman not only re- 
gards widowhood without any of those feelings of horror that led 
her Hindu sister to cut it short on the funeral pile she often an- 
ticipates it by the help of the divorce courts, and enjoys the pleas- 
ing sensation of being the legal widow of more than one man at 
the same time. The missionary feels no profounder complacency 
in converting the cannibal than the cannibal feels in eating the 
missionary. A Kentucky mountaineer will commit murder, but 
he will not steal ; a ward politician will often steal, but he will 
not, as a rule, commit murder. In Turkey a man may with a 
clear conscience have several wives ; in Tibet a woman may have 
several husbands ; in America nobody may have more than one 

6 



husband or wife in good legal standing at a time. If George 
Washington had been kidnapped in infancy and reared by thieves 
in a slum, with a thief for his only instructor instead of the 
devout mother who trained him in morals and religion, is it likely 
that he would have grown up the Washington whom we love 
and revere as the father of his country ? 

They object that moral courage cannot be taught. Very true. Can Moral COUT- 
I admit that it is the hardest thing in the world to teach. But age Be Taught? 
may we not be encouraged by the reflection that physical courage 
is taught ? It is not to be supposed that every young man who 
enters West Point or Annapolis, Brienne, St. Cyr or Sandhurst 
is a born hero. Yet the student at any of these schools is so 
drilled, hammered and braced in the direction of courage that 
by the time he graduates it is morally certain that when he takes 
his men under fire for the first time he will not flinch. Pride 
and the spirit of emulation can make masses of men do what 
even a hero would not venture to do alone. Is it likely that Na- 
poleon himself would have charged in solitary grandeur across 
the bridge at Lodi if there had been no one to see him do it ? 
Or would Pickett's brigade at Gettysburg have gone forward to 
destruction if every man in it had not been lifted out of himself 
by the feeling that he and his comrades were all doing a heroic 
thing together a thing in which he simply could not do less 
than the rest ? 

If such things can be done for physical courage, why not for 
moral courage ? If the mind can be taught to expose the body 
fearlessly to wounds and death, cannot the soul be taught to cling 
to its convictions against temptation, prejudice, obloquy and 
persecution ? Moral courage is developed by experience and by 
teaching. Every successful exercise of it makes the next easier. 
The editor is often confronted by an apparent dilemma either to 



Must Journal- 
ism Be Learned 
in the Office ? 



yield to a popular passion that he feels to be wrong or to risk 
the consequences of unpopularity. Adherence to convictions can 
and should be taught by precept and example as not only high 
principle but sound policy. Might not a hundred concrete ex- 
amples of inflexible devotion to the right serve as a moral tonic 
to the student ? 

They object that such making as a newspaper man needs after 
he has been successfully born can be done only in the actual 
practice of the office, or " shop." 

What is the actual practice of the office ? It is not intentional, 
but only incidental training ; it is not apprenticeship it is work, 
in which every participant is supposed to know his business. 
Nobody in a newspaper office has the time or the inclination to 
teach a raw reporter the things he ought to know before taking 
up even the humblest work of the journalist. That is not what 
editors are doing. One of the learned critics remarks that Greeley 
took young Raymond in hand and hammered him into a great 
editor. True. But was it not an expensive process, as well as 
an unusual one the most distinguished newspaper-maker of his 
time turning himself into a college of journalism for the benefit 
of a single pupil ? Suppose a man of half Greeley's capacity, set 
free from the exhausting labors and the harassing perplexities 
of creating a newspaper every day relieved from the necessity 
of correcting the blunders of subordinates, of watching to pre- 
vent the perpetration of more blunders, and able to concentrate 
his whole heart and soul upon training his pupils might he not 
be able to turn out, not one Raymond, but forty ? 

Incidentally, I venture to mention that in my own experience 
as a newspaper reporter and editor I never had one single lesson 
from anybody. 

The "shop " idea is the one that used to prevail in the law and 

8 



in medicine. Legal studies began by copying bills of costs for the 
country lawyer ; medical training by sweeping out a doctor's 
office. Now it is recognized that better results are obtained by 
starting with a systematic equipment in a professional school. 
The lawyer learns nothing at college except the theory of the 
law, its principles and some precedents. When he receives his 
diploma he is quite unprepared to practise. Nor does the doctor 
learn to practise at the medical school. He learns only prin- 
ciples, theories, rules, the experience of others the foundation 
of his profession. After leaving college he must work in the 
hospitals to acquire the art of practically applying his knowledge. 
In journalism at present the newspaper offices are the hospi- 
tals, but the students come to them knowing nothing of principles 
or theories. The newspaper hospital is extremely accommodating. 
It furnishes the patients for its young men to practise on, puts 
dissecting-knives into the hands of beginners who do not know 
an artery from a vermiform appendix and pays them for the 
blunders by which they gradually teach themselves their pro- 
fession. We may sympathize with the students in their industri- 
ous efforts at self-education, but may we not also sympathize 
with the unfortunate editor who has to work with such incompe- 
tent instruments ? 

" To rear up minds with aspirations and faculties above the herd, capable ofleading on their country- T S a w ew College 
men to greater achievement in virtue, intelligence and general well-being these are the ends for which ' ~ 

endowed universities are desirable ; they are those which all endowed universities profess to aim at, " 
and great is their disgrace if, having undertaken this task and claiming credit for fulfilling it, they leave 
it unfulfilled." JOHN STUART MILL. 

They object that even if a college education be desirable 
everything needed is already provided in the existing colleges 
and no special department is required. 

This criticism appears to have some force. It is possible that 
it may be advanced with sincerity by intelligent newspaper men 



who know nothing of colleges, or by intelligent college men who 
know nothing of newspapers. But it is superficial. It is true 
that many of the subjects needed for the general education of a 
journalist are already covered in college. But they are too much 
covered. The student of journalism may find one course in a 
law school, another in a graduate school of political science, an- 
other, at the same hour, in an undergraduate class at college and 
another in a department of literature. 

A young man of very remarkable gifts enough to enable him 
to educate himself without the help of a college might be able 
to make from the immensely bulky and intricate catalogue a selec- 
tion of courses which would appear on paper to be a very fair 
curriculum. It would perhaps be adequate if he could keep the 
studies from conflicting in hours, which he could not, and if at 
twenty years of age he already possessed that knowledge of the 
requirements of his chosen profession which I feel that nearly 
twice twenty years' experience and hard work in my profession 
have not given me. 

But after this wonderful young man has made out his list 
of studies he will be doomed to disappointment. The courses in 
history, in law, in political science and the rest will not be what 
he really needs as a specialist in journalism. They will give him 
only a fraction of the knowledge he requires on those subjects, 
and they will swamp that fraction in a flood of details of which he 
can make no use. To fit these courses to his purpose they must 
be remodelled and specialized. Modern industry looks sharply 
after its by-products. In silver-mining, gold is sometimes found 
as a by-product exceeding the value of the silver. So in general 
university courses we may find by-products that would meet the 
needs of the journalist. Why not divert, deflect, extract, concen- 
trate, specialise them for the journalist as a specialist? 

10 



The spirit of specialization is everywhere. The lawyer is a 
real-estate lawyer, or a criminal lawyer, or a corporation lawyer, 
or possibly a criminal-corporation lawyer. Formerly the family 
physician treated every ailment ; now there are specialists for the 
eye, the ear, the throat, the teeth ; for men, for women, for 
children ; even for imaginary diseases ; for every possible variety 
of practice. And there is specialization in the newspaper offices 
themselves. The editor of a New York paper confined to the 
editorial page is as much surprised as the reader when in the 
morning he reads the news columns. The news editor does not 
know what editorials there will be ; the musical critic could not 
write of sporting events ; the man with the priceless sense of 
humor could not record and interpret the movements of the stock- 
market. The men in all these fields are specialists. The object 
of the College of Journalism will be to dig through this general 
scheme intended to cover every possible career or work in life, 
every profession, to select and concentrate only upon the things 
which the journalist wants, and not to waste time on things that 
he does not want. 

They object that a college of journalism would establish class Class Distinc- 
distinctions in the profession an invidious distinction of the few tions w^y 
who had received the benefits of a collegiate training against the 
many who had not enjoyed this advantage. I sincerely hope 
it will create a class distinction between the fit and the unfit. We 
need a class feeling among journalists one based not upon 
money but upon morals, education and character. 

There are still a few places in which money is not everything, 
and they are those in which men are joined by a bond of honor- 
able association. The cadet at West Point is taught honor and 
pride in his profession. He knows that none of his comrades 
will lie or cheat or do anything unworthy of a gentleman, and the 

11 



pleasure he feels in such associations fully compensates for his 
ridiculously small income. He sees thousands of vulgar people, 
much more prosperous than himself, living in much greater 
luxury, yet he would not change his life and his social circle for 
theirs. May we not hope that a similar education will in the future 
create a similar corps feeling among journalists the same pride 
in the profession, the same determination to do nothing ''unbe- 
coming an officer and a gentleman " ? Why not ? 

The journalist has a position that is all his own. He alone 
has the privilege of moulding the opinion, touching the hearts 
and appealing to the reason of hundreds of thousands every day. 
Here is the most fascinating of all professions. The soldier may 
wait forty years for his opportunity. Most lawyers, most physi- 
cians, most clergymen die in obscurity, but every single day opens 
new doors for the journalist who holds the confidence of the 
community and has the capacity to address it. 

But as yet the journalist works alone. If he is a college gradu- 
ate he goes to his college club as a graduate, not as a journalist. 
He never speaks of another journalist as " my colleague," as the 
lawyer or the physician does of his professional brother. He 
hardly ever meets other journalists socially in any numbers. But 
if the future editors of the city were in large proportion gradu- 
ates of the same college and had a recognized professional meeting- 
place in which they could come together informally and discuss 
matters of common interest, would they not eventually develop a 
professional pride that would enable them to work in concert 
for the public good and that would put any black sheep of the 
profession in a very uncomfortable position ? Such a spirit 
would be the surest guaranty against the control of the press 
by powerful financial interests not an imaginary danger by any 
means. 

13 



If such a class spirit existed no editor who had degraded him- 
self by becoming the hireling or any Wall Street king or ring 
would dare to face his colleagues. He would be too conscious of 
having been false to his better nature and equally false to the 
traditions of his college and of his profession. It would be impos- 
sible then for any Huntington or Gould of the next generation 
to buy up newspapers a thing easily feasible where hundreds of 
millions are at stake unless there is a strong feeling of class pride 
and principle to prevent it. The knowledge that a reputable 
journalist would refuse to edit any paper that represented private 
interest against the public good would be enough of itself to 
discourage such an enterprise. Such a refusal would be as severe 
a blow to public confidence in the newspaper as the rejection of 
a brief by a high-minded lawyer is to the standing of a case in 
court. 

No, there is nothing to fear in class distinctions founded on 
moral and mental superiority on education and knowledge. We 
need more such classes, in the presence of the prevailing mania 
for mere money-making. The million of teachers form a class of 
this kind, with small pay, but with the consciousness of pursuing 
a noble profession. Such distinctions are especially necessary in 
a republic which has discarded everything in the way of rank and 
title and left personal merit the only thing that can dispute the 
worship of wealth. 

They object that schools of journalism have been tried and Has the 
have failed. This is very shallow, and while technically true is Ex P enment 

.... _, , . ' Been Tried? 

practically untrue. There are persons occupying desk-room in 
grimy offices who advertise to make journalists to order. There 
are more pretentious "correspondence schools" which tell, no 
doubt correctly, how to read proof and prepare copy for the 
press. And there have even been certain courses of lectures in 

13 



colleges and universities of standing, in which gentlemen of more 
or less extensive experience in journalism have expressed some 
general ideas about the requirements of the profession. This thus 
far has been the Lilliputian limit of effort in the direction of a 
university training for journalism. 

So far as these could have any effect at all it would be in the 
direction of convincing the student that he would do better to 
choose some other profession. One lecturer, who is an exceedingly 
successful and able magazine editor, devoted his time to explain- 
ing the value of fiction and the " market " for short stories. He 
treated newspapers solely from the commercial point of view and 
never once referred to their ethical side. 

Something has been said of a so-called school of journalism in 
London, which is compared with the proposed institution at 
Columbia. I do not wish to disparage the London school, but it 
has about ten boys, not college students, just schoolboys, and 
its whole endowment is one travelling scholarship. I may men- 
tion incidentally that there will be five travelling scholarships at 
Columbia. To compare a boys' school or a few desultory courses 
of lectures with a college amply and permanently endowed and 
equipped in a great university is preposterous. Instruction in 
journalism has never yet had a fair chance to show what it can 
do. The new institution will be the first experiment of its kind. 

They object that competent teachers, without whom the most 
Be Found? ^genious plans of instruction must fail, are not to be found. I 
confess that this is the greatest, gravest difficulty and danger. 
Like any college, we must have in the first place a combination 
of the highest character and capacity, with love of and aptitude 
for teaching. Even this is no small thing to ask, as the diffi- 
culty of the colleges in finding suitable professors may warn us. 
But we need something beyond and much rarer than this. 

u 



Teachers of journalism should also be experienced editors. But 
how are we to lure a truly able editor from the active work of the 
profession in which there is such splendid scope for his powers 
and such eager competition for his services while he is in the 
prime of life ? 

The difficulty of drawing the right men from active service 
suggests the possibility that it may be necessary to fall back upon 
retired editors, who can no longer take part in the strenuous 
newspaper life. But my hope is that the whole profession will 
see in this situation an appeal to its honor and its pride. I hope 
that the very difficulty of the problem will prove its own solution, 
by enlisting the sympathetic interest and aid of the men of power 
and of energy who would not waste their time on work that others 
could do. These men could not shirk the responsibilities of 
leadership if they would, nor do I believe they would if they could. 

The greatest painters of Paris visit the art schools and criticise 
the work of the pupils. The masters of the New York bar give 
lectures in the law schools. The most famous physicians teach in 
the medical colleges. Why should the greatest editors not have 
an equally unselfish pride in and love of their own profession ? 
Upon their generous sympathy and aid will depend the success of 
the experiment. 

Nor need we confine our search to journalists. Historians like 
McMaster, Wilson and Rhodes ; college presidents like Eliot, Had- 
ley and Angell; judges like Fuller, Brewer and Gray could help 
the work with lectures and suggestions. It is nothing new for a 
justice of the Supreme Court to lecture in college. Justice Story 
did it at Harvard, Justice Field did it at the University of Cali- 
fornia, Justices Harlan and Brewer do it now at the Columbian 
University at Washington. Even ex-Presidents have not thought 
such work belittling. Harrison lectured at Stanford and Cleveland 

15 



at Princeton. And surely the greatest minds of the nation 
must realize how indissolubly a pure republic is linked with an 
upright press. National pride will, I fully trust, constrain them 
to do what they can for the elevation of an agency by which the 
destinies of the Union are so profoundly affected for good or for 
evil. 

Unteachable " Our taste is improved exactly as we improve our judgment, by extending our knowledge, by a 
steady attention to one object, and by frequent exercise." BURKB on " The Sublime and Beautiful." 

They object there are some things that a college of journalism 
cannot teach. I admit it. No college can give imagination, initia- 
tive, impulses, enthusiasm, a sense of humor or irony. These 
things must be inborn. But would not such inborn qualities be 
developed and strengthened in the atmosphere of the proposed 
college ? Is not the development of such inborn qualities seen 
everywhere in intellectual life ? The poet, it is true, is born, not 
made. That is also true of a great orator and a great painter. 
But does not the great poet indicate and cultivate his inborn 
genius by instinctively devouring, even as a child, all the poetry 
he can procure ? Keats wrote : "I long to feast upon old Homer 
as we have upon Shakespeare and as I have lately upon Milton." 
Did not such orators as Demosthenes, Cicero, Burke and Webster 
declaim the masterpieces of oratory and rhetoric ? Did not Van 
Dyck and every other great painter benefit by the careful study of 
the work of their great predecessors in art ? And with these facts 
in mind may we not hope that the student at Columbia, living in 
an atmosphere of journalism, with the highest examples and ideals 
of journalism constantly before him, will bring to the highest effi- 
ciency whatever dormant or inborn faculty he may possess ? It 
seems to me that the more conclusively the critics prove certain 
things to be unteachable the more they prove the necessity of 
teaching everything possible that is teachable. 

16 



This is all that any education can do, and it is enough. Edu- 
cation is development, not creation. If its value depended upon 
its ability to bring mental qualities into existence from nothing 
every educational institution from the kindergarten to the univer- 
sity would have to close its doors and every educator would be 
out of employment. 

In short, does not every mental worker, whether creative or 
imitative, try to steep himself in the atmosphere of his work? 
And is it not reasonable to suppose that our student would gain 
some advantage from living and working for some years in the 
atmosphere of journalistic training ? 

Finally, they object that I have proved a college course in jour- 
nalism to be unnecessary by succeeding without one. Perhaps I 
may be permitted to judge of that. It is ingenious to use me as a 
club against my own plan. If I have had any success it has been 
because I never, so far as my individual work and pleasure are 
concerned, regarded journalism as a business. From my first 
hour's work, through a period of nearly forty years, I have re- 
garded journalism not only as a profession, but as the noblest of 
all professions: I have always felt that I was in touch with the 
public mind and ought to do some good every day. Probably I 
have failed, but it has not been for lack of effort. 

"The journalist's opportunity is beyond estimate. To him are given the keys of every study, the What Should 
entry to every family, the ear of every citizen when at ease and in his most receptjve moods powers of r , T> 
approach and of persuasion beyond those of the Protestant pastor or the Catholic confessor. He is by 
no means a prophet, but, reverently be it said, he is a voice in the wilderness preparing the way. He 
is by no means a priest, but his words carry wider and further than the priest's, and he preaches tht 
gospel of humanity. He is not a king, but he nurtures and trains the king, and the land is ruled by the 
public opinion he evokes and shapes. If you value this good land the Lord has given us, if you would 
have a share in this marvellous civilization and lifting power of humanity, look well to the nurture and 
training of your king." HON. WHITELAW REID. 

Not to teach typesetting, not to explain the methods of busi- 
ness management, not to reproduce with trivial variations the 

17 



course of a commercial college. This is not university work. It 
needs no endowment. It is the idea of work for the community, 
not commerce, not for one's self, but primarily for the public, that 
needs to be taught. The School of Journalism is to be, in my 
conception, not only not commercial, but anti-commercial. It is 
to exalt principle, knowledge, culture, at the expense of business 
if need be. It is to set up ideals, to keep the counting-room in its 
proper place, and to make the soul of the editor the soul of the 
paper. Incidentally 1 may say that I have never spent an hour in 
any publication office either of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch or The 
World, though 1 established both these journals and still own 
them. 

In the proposed course of study, drawn up with admirable 
quickness, but tentatively, by. President Eliot and widely discussed 
as if it had been definitely adopted, Dr. Eliot included instruction 
in the business administration of a newspaper. He mentioned 
specifically circulation, advertising, manufacture and finance. 

My own ideas upon many parts of the course of study are still 
uncertain, but upon this one point they are very decided. I am 
sure that if my wishes are to be considered business instruction 
of any sort should not, would not and must not form any part of 
the work of the College of Journalism. 

The course of instruction will be decided by the Advisory 
Board, which is not yet appointed, acting in conjunction with the 
authorities of the university. 

1 have the greatest admiration for the extraordinary genius and 
character of the president of Harvard, but nothing was further 
from my mind nothing, in fact, is more inconsistent and incom- 
patible with my intentions or repugnant to my feelings than to 
include any of the business or commercial elements of a newspaper 
in what is to be taught in this department of Columbia College. 

18 



What is a college of journalism ? It is an institution to train 
journalists. What is a journalist ? Not any business manager or 
publisher, or even proprietor. A journalist is the lookout on the 
bridge of the ship of state. He notes the passing sail, the little 
things of interest that dot the horizon in fine weather. He reports 
the drifting castaway whom the ship can save. He peers through 
fog and storm to give warning of dangers ahead. He is not think- 
ing of his wages or of the profits of his owners. He is there to 
watch over the safety and the welfare of the people who trust 
him. 

Few men in the business office of a newspaper know anything 
about the principles of journalism. The proprietor himself is not 
necessarily a journalist. He may be if he is capable of under- 
standing public questions, of weighing public interests, of carry- 
ing out public tasks ; if he is in touch with public feeling, realizes 
public duties, is in sympathy with the public welfare, and is 
capable of presenting his ideas to the people, either by his own 
pen or by the pens of others. But it is quite conceivable that 
some proprietors are very deficient in these points. 

My hope is that this College of Journalism will raise the stand- 
ard of the editorial profession. But to do this it must mark the 
distinction between real journalists and men who do a kind of 
newspaper work that requires neither knowledge nor conviction, 
but merely business training. 1 wish to begin a movement that 
will raise journalism to the rank of a learned profession, growing 
in the respect of the community as other professions far less 
important to the public interests have grown. 

There is an obvious difference between a business and a pro- 
fession. An editor, an editorial writer or a correspondent is not 
in business. Nor is even a capable reporter. These men are 
already in a profession, though they may not admit it or even 

19 



realize it, as many of them, unhappily, do not. Ill or well, they 
represent authorship, and authorship is a profession. 

The man in the counting-room of a newspaper is in the news- 
paper business. He concentrates his brain (quite legitimately) 
upon the commercial aspects of things, upon the margin of profit, 
upon the reduction of expenses, upon buying white paper and 
selling it printed and that is business. But a man who has the 
advantage, honor and pleasure of addressing the public every day 
as a writer or thinker is a professional man. So, of course, is 
he who directs these writers and reporters, who tells them what 
to say and how to say it, who shows them how to think who 
inspires them, though he may never write a line himself, and de- 
cides what the principles and objects of the paper shall be. For 
example, the greatest editor in the whole history of European 
journalism, John Delane, never wrote any articles of his own, 
although for thirty-six years he was the head, the heart, the brain 
of the London Times. But he directed every writer, he furnished 
the thought, the policy, the initiative ; he bore the responsibility, 
and he corrected both manuscript and proofs. 

In this relation perhaps it may be interesting to note that 
Delane studied law and was admitted to the bar before he became 
its editor at the age of twenty-four. But it was without any 
intention of practising. His father, who was a lawyer for the 
Times, destined him for its service from his boyhood, and he 
joined its staff as a reporter soon after passing his legal examina- 
tions. Delane, with his editorial revision, elimination and sub- 
stitution, was like some of the great old painters, who had much 
of their work, measured by mere bulk, done for them by pupils. 
Rubens, or Van Dyck, or Raphael furnished the idea, the design, 
the composition, in an original drawing ; the pupils did the bulk 
of the execution. Then the artist added the finishing touches 

20 



that lifted the picture to the rank of a masterpiece. Only 
in that way could the enormous output ascribed to those mas- 
ters have been produced. So it was with Delane, and so it 
is with every editor who knows how to make the most of his 
powers. 

That a newspaper, however great as a public institution and a 
public teacher, must also be a business is not to be denied, but 
there is nothing exceptional in this. Elements of business, of 
economy, of income and outgo, are in the government of the city, 
the State, the nation, in art, in every school, in every college, in 
every university, indeed, in every church. But a bishop, even 
though he receives pay for his work, is not regarded as a business 
man ; nor is a great artist, though he charge the highest possible 
price for his paintings and die as rich as Meissonier or Rubens. 
Many distinguished lawyers, such as Mr. Tilden, one of the 
greatest, were shrewd business men, able probably to outwit the 
majority of publishers, yet they were rightly considered members 
of an intellectual profession. 

George Washington had extraordinary business capacity. By 
intelligent economy, method, sound judgment and the closest 
attention to details he accumulated the greatest American fortune 
of his time. Yet when he was called to serve the country in the 
field he did it without a salary. At Mount Vernon he was a busi- 
ness man ; in history he is a soldier, a statesman and the father of 
his country. 

To sum up, the banker or broker, the baker or the candlestick- 
maker is in business in trade. But the artist, the statesman, 
the thinker, the writer all who are in touch with the public taste 
and mind, whose thoughts reach beyond their own livelihood to 
some public interest are in professions. 



21 



Dangers of " O"* improvement is in proportion to our purpose." MARCUS AURELIUS. 

N tnin g less than the highest ideals, the most scrupulous 
anxiety to do right, the most accurate knowledge of the problems 
it has to meet and a sincere sense of its moral responsibility will 
save journalism from subservience to business interests, seeking 
selfish ends antagonistic to the public welfare. For instance, 
Jay Gould once owned the principal Democratic newspaper of 
America. He had obtained it from Col. "Tom " Scott in a trade 
for the Texas Pacific Railroad, and I was fortunate enough to 
be able to relieve him of his unprofitable burden. C. P. Hun- 
tington bought a New York newspaper and turned it into a Dem- 
ocratic organ, he himself, like Gould, being an ardent Republican. 
He hoped in this way to influence Mr. Cleveland's administration 
and the Democrats in Congress against making the Pacific rail- 
roads pay their debts of about $120,000,000 to the Government. 
Incidentally he testified under oath that his journalistic experi- 
ment cost him over a million dollars, although his newspaper was 
so obscure that its utterances were hardly more than soliloquies. 
Mr. Huntington did somehow succeed in delaying for a number 
of years the enforcement of the Treasury's claims. However 
dangerous the plutocratic control of newspapers for sordid private 
ends may be, their control by demagogues for ambitious, selfish 
ends is an equally apparent evil. The people know, with un- 
erring instinct, when a newspaper is devoted to private rather 
than to public interests; and their refusal to buy it limits its 
capacity for harm. But when a demagogic agitator appeals to 
"the masses" against "the classes" and poses as the ardent 
friend of the people against their " oppressors," assailing law and 
order and property as a means of gaining followers among the 
discontented and unthinking, the newspaper becomes a dangerous 
power for evil. 



Commercialism has a legitimate place in a newspaper, namely, 
in the business office. The more successful a newspaper is com- 
mercially the better for its moral side. The more prosperous it 
is the more independent it can afford to be, the higher salaries it 
can pay to editors and reporters, the less subject it will be to 
temptation, the better it can stand losses for the sake of principle 
and conviction. But commercialism, which is proper and neces- 
sary in the business office, becomes a degradation and a danger 
when it invades the editorial rooms. Once let the public come to 
regard the press as exclusively a commercial business and there 
is an end of its moral power. Influence cannot exist without 
public confidence. And that confidence must have a human basis. 
It must rest in the end on the character of the journalist. The 
editor, the real "journalist " of the future, must be a man of such 
known integrity that he will be above the suspicion of writing or 
editing against his convictions. He must be known as one who 
would resign rather than sacrifice his principles to any business 
interest. It would be well if the editor of every newspaper were 
also its proprietor, but every editor can be at least the proprietor 
of himself. If he cannot keep the paper from degrading itself he 
can refuse to be a party to the degradation. 

By far the larger part of the American press is honest, although 
partisan. It means to do right ; it would like to know how. To 
strengthen its resolution and give to its wisdom the indispensable 
basis of knowledge and independent character is the object of 
training in journalism. 

" I know but two ways by which society can be governed : the one is by Public Opinion, the other fhe March of 
by the Sword.-MACAULAY. Progress 

In an interesting review of its seventy years of life the New 
York Sun estimated the total circulation of the six morning papers 
existing in New York at its birth at 18,000 copies a day. Since 

23 



then four of these six journals have died and the Tribune, Times, 
Herald and World have been born. 

To-day the New York morning papers alone print more than a 
million copies of every issue. At least 1,500,000 copies more are 
added every working-day by the evening papers, which seventy 
years ago did not exist. In other words, for every New York 
newspaper sold in 1833 140 are sold now to fourteen times as 
many people. Where there used to be nearly three families to 
every newspaper there are now over three newspapers to every 
family. 

There are men now living whose memories can bridge that gap 
of seventy years. In 1833 Andrew Jackson was President. The 
entire United States had less than the present population of the 
States of New York and Pennsylvania, and far less wealth than is 
concentrated to-day within half a mile of Trinity Church. There 
was not an American settlement west of the Missouri, and a few 
cabins were the only marks of civilization on the site of Chicago. 
New York City was smaller than Detroit is now. Washington 
was a swamp in which coaches were mired down and abandoned 
on Pennsylvania Avenue, and cows grazed on the site of the Brit- 
ish Embassy. A generation had passed since Jackson had resigned 
his seat in the Senate because it took him nearly six weeks to 
make the journey between Philadelphia, then the capital, and his 
home, a longer time than it has taken within the past year to 
girdle the globe, but there were yet Senators who found the trip 
to Washington not much shorter. Still there were steamboats 
on the navigable rivers, and stage-coaches drawn over rails by 
steam-engines had just begun to astonish the inhabitants of a few 
favored localities. The horse was still the usual motor for high- 
speed traffic and the ox or the mule the customary freight-engine. 
" De Witt Clinton's ditch " across the State of New York was the 

24 



commercial marvel of the age. The people of Virginia were 
strangers to the people of Pennsylvania, and the journey from 
Philadelphia to Pittsburg was longer and vastly more arduous than 
the journey now from Boston to the City of Mexico. The farmer 
reaped his grain with a scythe and cradle and threshed it with 
a flail or under the feet of horses. Whale-oil lamps glimmered 
feebly through the darkness of the city streets. Nails were made 
by hand on the blacksmith's forge. In the country a calico gown 
was a luxury, to be worn on state occasions. Colleges were few 
and puny. Harvard, the most ambitious of them all, was a high 
school in which a few professors taught Latin, Greek, moral phi- 
losophy and a little mathematics, leading in most cases to a course 
in theology. There was not a single real university in America. 
There were no great libraries. 

In the best presses of that day, and for many years after, it was 
necessary to feed the paper by hand, one sheet at a time, print it 
on one side, and then feed it again and print it on the other. All 
the presses then in existence would not have been able to print a 
single edition of a leading New York newspaper of our time such 
as whirls between the cylinders of a Hoe machine from endless 
rolls of paper at the speed of the Niagara rapids. All the paper- 
mills then in the country could not have met the demands of such 
a journal for white paper. All the news-gathering agencies in the 
world would have hopelessly broken down in the attempt to pro- 
vide even a fraction of its present daily supply of information. 
Had any one suggested then that children were already born who 
would be still living and reading when news would be flashed 
from Tokyo to New York by lightning and printed before it hap- 
pened ; who would see on the same page despatches of the same 
date from India, from Siberia, from Australia, from Corea, and from 
the sources of the Nile ; that one of them in Boston could talk 

25 



with his own voice to another in Omaha; that they would see 
newspapers printed on ships on the Atlantic containing news shot 
on invisible waves over a thousand miles of ocean, and that they 
could take breakfast in New York and dine in London a week later, 
he would have been treated as an eccentric " visionary." 

So much for the seventy years upon which the old man can 
look back what of the seventy years to which the boy can look 
forward ? 

The population of the Republic is still increasing at a rate that 
is more than equivalent to annexing a Canada every four years. 
New York promises to displace London in twenty or thirty years 
as the first city of the world. Nearly a million immigrants landed 
last year the greatest human flood in all modern history. Elec- 
tric trains have already been driven at a hundred and fifty miles 
an hour as great an advance on the ordinary express train of 
1904 as that has been on the stage-coach of 1833. Wireless 
telegraphy is in its feeble infancy and radium is hinting of things 
unsuspected. The nations are drawing together. The Interna- 
tional Postal Union and international conventions on copyrights, 
tarifTs, arbitration and other matters of common concern are 
teaching the people that it is as easy to co-operate as to quarrel. 
At the smallest rate of increase we have ever known in any census 
period the population of the United States would not be less than 
290,000,000 in seventy years from now. Even allowing for any 
reasonable decline in the rate of growth it can hardly fall below 
200,000,000. 

We are embarked, whether we like it or not, upon a revolution 
in thought and life. Progress is sweeping forward with accel- 
erating force, outstripping in decades the advance of former cen- 
turies and millenniums. All professions, all occupations but one, 
are keeping step with this majestic march. Its inspiration has 

26 



fired all ranks of the marching army or must we except the 
standard-bearers ? The self-constituted leaders and enlighteners 
of the people what are they doing ? Standing still, lost in self- 
admiration, while the hosts march by ? Are they even doing as 
well as that ? Is it not a fact that the editors of seventy years 
ago were, as a rule, better informed in law, politics, government 
and history than those of to-day ? The statesmen and lawyers 
and political students who used to do editorial work for ambition 
or intellectual pleasure have ceased to frequent the news- 
paper offices. There is no trade so humble that it is not de- 
veloping a standard of progressive competence based on thorough 
training. For the more intellectual professions law, medicine, 
art, architecture, music, engineering in all its varied branches 
the years of preparation are stretching over ever-lengthening 
periods. 

Is the most exacting profession ot all the one that requires 
the widest and the deepest knowledge and the firmest foundations 
of character to be left entirely to the chances of self-education ? 
Is the man who is everybody's critic and teacher the only one 
who does himself not need to be taught ? 

" He (Gladstone) was never very ready to talk about himself, but when asked what he regarded \\That Should 
as his master secret, he always said, ' Concentration. 1 Steady practice of instant, fixed, effectual T> T , . 
attention. . . ."JOHN MORLEY. 

and How ? 

Style. Everybody says that a college of journalism must 
teach good English style. But what is a good style and how 
shall it be taught ? 

The importance and the rarity of a really good English style 
are so great that, to my own mind, this college will be worth 
all it costs if it shall succeed only in teaching the future gen- 
erations of journalists what a wonderful art Style is and how to 
perfect themselves in it. 

27 



"The style is the man," said Buffon ; by which he obviously 
meant that the best thing in any man's writing is that which is 
individual giving his own thought in his own way. But the 
important thing is to develop the style that is the man in a 
manner to make it conform to the requisites of the best news- 
paper writing, namely, accuracy, clearness, terseness and 
forcefulness. 

The literary art is in general very inadequately taught and 
very little appreciated in this country. No artist aspires to fame 
without a knowledge of form and color and drawing. But one 
has only to read the newspapers and the books without number 
issued from the press to perceive that many authors audaciously 
begin their careers without having learned to write. 

In no profession is the art of writing more important than in 
journalism, which is daily turning out a literature ephemeral, 
it is true, and in great part bad, but still the literature of the 
millions. Yet one style will not answer the manifold require- 
ments of a newspaper. There must be a different style for each 
kind of work polemical, descriptive, analytical, literary, satirical, 
expository, critical, narrative and the mind of the editor, like a 
trained musical ear, must be able to detect every note out of place. 
An argumentative editorial on the tariff must not be written in the 
vein that would be appropriate to a pathetic description of a 
mother's search for a lost child, nor must a satirical dissection of 
a politician resemble a report of a bankruptcy case. 

But through all the varied styles fit for use in a newspaper 
there runs one common feature public interest. Whether the 
subject he touches be profound or trivial, the journalist must not 
be dull nor involved nor hard to understand. He must know 
exactly what he wants to say, how to say it and when to stop. 
He must have a Gallic lucidity and precision. 



He must have the critical faculty, for all newspaper work in- 
volves criticism and analysis. The journalist criticises everything 
under the sun ; his eye is always at the mental microscope and his 
hand on the dissecting-knife. 

Acute journalists gradually fashion their own styles through 
observation and practice. They can never be relieved of that ne- 
cessity by any attempt to fit a ready-made style to them ; but 
may they not be helped by a course of instruction systematically 
explaining what journalism requires, with illustrations of good 
and bad work ? 

" Honest and independent journalism is the mightiest force evolved by modern civilization. With 
all its faults and what human institution is faultless ? it is indispensable to the life of a free people. The 
frontiers of the constitutional privilege of the press are as wide as human thought, and it is one of the 
glories of our country that its journalism as a whole is incorrupt, fearless and patriotic. Jt is the never- 
sleeping enemy of bigotry, sectionalism, ignorance and crime. It deserves the freedom which our fathers 
gave it. It has justified itself." ALTON B. PARKER, Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals. 

Everybody says that Law must be taught. Assuredly ! but 
how ? 

There are manifold branches of the law. International law, 
constitutional interpretation, the law of corporations, of con- 
tracts, of real estate, wills, patents, divorce, the criminal law and 
a score of other important subjects, each command the almost 
undivided attention of legal experts who have practically become 
specialists. 

To attempt the mastery of all phases of the law as taught in a 
law school would be impossible for a student of journalism. Nor 
is it necessary. Here, again, the fundamental idea underlying the 
entire scheme of this college, of specialising the instruction, is 
seen to be essential. The regular student of law must learn not 
merely the principles but the practice and precedents of his pro- 
fession. But the journalist needs to know only the principles and 
theories of law and so much of their application as relates directly 

29 



to the rights and the welfare of the public. The art of selection 
must be employed in separating the essential and the practical 
from the non-essential and the impractical. 

Take the question of franchises, which has become so impor- 
tant to municipalities and to the country at large. Would not a 
series of special lectures, prepared by a competent jurist, instruct 
those who aim to become teachers and guardians of the people 
as to the nature and proper limitations of public franchises ? A 
clear definition of the nature and responsibilities of a "common 
carrier "and of the reservations and conditions which it is right 
to impose upon corporations that seek the use of public property, 
like the streets of a city, for private gain, would be of great ad- 
vantage to those who will be called upon to protect the public 
interests in the future. 

There is much in the papers and a good deal, it must be 
confessed, that is either ignorant or demagogic, or both in de- 
nunciation of monopolies. How many know the fundamental fact 
that oppressive monopolies are abhorrent to the common law, 
which we inherited from England ? How many know the differ- 
ence between common law and statute law ? President Cleve- 
land, President Roosevelt and even the astute Mr. Olney thought 
a constitutional amendment necessary to enable Congress to forbid 
and punish "trusts, monopolies or other conspiracies in restraint 
of trade." But the Supreme Court has frequently decided, and 
has just reaffirmed the truth I have maintained for fourteen years, 
that under the common law all these combinations are unlawful 
and subject to the restraint of Congress under the Constitution. 

The relations of capital and labor, which present one of the 
greatest problems before us as a nation and one filled with po- 
tentialities of the gravest danger, and the ownership or regulation 
of public utilities by municipalities or by the nation, both involve 

30 



many strictly legal or constitutional points. The discussion of 
these questions in the press is too commonly partisan, superficial 
or demagogic. Would it not be of great advantage to the press 
and the public if journalists were instructed in the basic principles 
of law and equity in these matters ? Is it not entirely practicable 
to teach them the legal meaning of such phases as "eminent 
domain," "vested rights," "the public welfare" (as used in the 
Constitution), "corporate privileges," and the like ? 

The writ of injunction, or " government by injunction " as it 
has been mischievously called, would it not be enlightening and 
useful if a great jurist like Justice Brewer or James C. Carter or 
Joseph Choate were to give to the students in the College of Jour- 
nalism a history of this writ and a dispassionate account of its 
uses and necessity and possible limitations in a free government ? 

And so of divorce the press teems with scandals arising from 
the too easy sundering of marriage ties. Clergymen deplore its 
evils, moralists suggest impossible remedies, legislators meddle 
only to muddle. Would it not conduce to the enactment of a 
national divorce law, uniform and stringent, if the journalists of 
the future were impressed with the anomaly of forty-five separate 
and often conflicting laws of marriage and divorce in this indis- 
soluble Union ? 

The fundamental things the settled principles of law that 
touch closely the life and the welfare of the people can surely be 
taught in a series of lectures by eminent lawyers, aided by the 
standard text-books. Nearly forty years ago, preparatory to my 
admission to the bar in St. Louis, I not only read but studied 
Blackstone ; and I have never seen the day in my whole journal- 
istic experience when I did not feel thankful for what I then 
learned of the principles of law. 

A carefully specialized course of study adapted to teach the 

31 



student of journalism what he needs to know, and omitting the 
things that are not required by one who has no intention of prac- 
tising law, will, it seems to me, prove to be not only wholly 
practicable, but in the highest degree useful. No subject is more 
important, for Law is the basis of Civilization, the regulator of 
Liberty, the safeguard of Order, the formal expression of a nation's 
ideas of Justice and Justice is the supreme test of any and all 
government. 
Ethics Everybody says that ethics should be taught. But how ? 

1 have expressed myself poorly indeed if 1 have not made it 
clear that here is the heart of the whole matter. 

Without high ethical ideals a newspaper, however amusing and 
prosperous, not only is stripped of its splendid possibilities of pub- 
lic service, but may become a positive danger to the community. 
There will naturally be a course in ethics, but training in ethical 
principles must not be confined to that. It must pervade all the 
courses. Ideals, character, professional standards not to be 
infringed without shame, a sense of honor which, as Burke said 
of the totally undeserving French noblesse, feels a stain like a 
wound : these will be the motif of the whole institution, never 
forgotten even in its most practical work. 

News is important it is the very life of a paper. But what is 
life without character? What is the life of a nation or of an 
individual without honor, without heart and soul ? 

Above knowledge, above news, above intelligence, the heart 
and soul of a paper lie in its moral sense, in its courage, its 
integrity, its humanity, its sympathy for the oppressed, its in- 
dependence, its devotion to the public welfare, its anxiety to 
render public service. 

Without these there may be clever journalists, but never a 
truly great or honorable one. 

32 



Everybody says a journalist must study literature. True-- Literature 
but how ? A college course is too short to allow even the barest 
introduction to all the great works with which a newspaper writer 
ought to be familiar. But it can make a beginning, which can be 
intelligent and thorough as far as it goes. The student would 
have time enough to become intimately acquainted with a few 
of the masterpieces whose web of imagery and allusion has 
become part of the texture of English style. 

Perhaps I may take it for granted that in this course particular 
attention will be paid to the literature of politics, from Plato to 
Burke, from the letters of Junius to Hamilton's famous Federalist 
letters, and from Jefferson to Lincoln. 

Everybody says that a journalist ought to be taught the im- Truth and 
portance of truth and accuracy. But how ? 

Journalism implies the duty and art of omniscience. A news- 
paper never admits that there is anything it does not know. But 
while the newspaper may know everything, the man who helps to 
make it does not, and owing to the limited capacity of the human 
brain he never can. 

More important, therefore, than filling him up with facts that 
can never reach the measure of his needs is his instruction in the 
art of finding things when they are required. Does a reader ask 
how many national bank-notes were outstanding in 1867 ? The 
editor may not know, but by turning to the report of the 
Comptroller of the Currency he can find out, and then the paper 
knows. 

The library of reference is the editor's best friend, and the art 
of going at once to the proper source for any needed piece of in- 
formation is one of the most useful arts a journalist can possibly 
acquire. And is not this something that could easily be taught 
in a class-room ? 

83 



The bibliography of books of reference, with instruction in the 
art of finding data with speed and precision, would make a well- 
defined college course. There is always some best source for 
every kind of information some original source from which the 
facts trickle through all sorts of media and finally reach the public 
at second, third or fourth hand. 

To know these sources of exact knowledge, to be able to put 
one's hand on them instantly, and so to be able to state facts with 
absolute confidence in their accuracy could there be any more 
useful equipment for a journalist ? 

History " He alone reads history aright who, observing how powerfully circumstances influence the feelings 
and opinions of men, how often virtues pass into vices and paradoxes into axioms, learns to distinguish 
what is accidental and transitory in human nature from what is essential and immutable." MACAULAY. 

Everybody says that a school of journalism must teach his- 
tory. But how ? The world's historical records fill thousands 
of volumes. The utmost that any scholar can do in a whole life- 
time is to dip into this mass of material here and there and take 
out something that he particularly wants. But the average college 
class is composed of young men with all kinds of purposes, and 
therefore with all kinds of wants, and these young men must all 
be taught together. Therefore the professor, perforce, prepares 
for them a neutral course. 

Now let us suppose that instead of lecturing for the general 
student in a general way a professor of history should concentrate 
sharply upon the special object of the journalist, upon the special, 
separate needs of his training. Might he not then find time to 
throw light upon such subjects as these : 

The history of politics. (" History," said Seeley, " is past poli- 
tics and politics is future history.") 

The growth and development of free institutions and the 
causes of their decay. 

84 



Revolutions, reforms and changes of government. 

The influence of public opinion upon all progress. 

Legislation. 

Taxation. 

Moral movements. 

Slavery and war. 

Conflicts between capital and labor. 

The history of colonization, illuminating American policy by 
European experience. 

The history of journalism. 

Of course, in this review general history would be lightly 
touched, English history nlore thoroughly, and American history 
would have several times as much attention as all the rest 
combined. And through all its phases would run the idea of 
progress, especially the progress of justice, of civilization, of 
humanity, of public opinion and of the democratic idea and 
ideal. 

Everybody says that a college of journalism should teach Sociology 
sociology. But how? 

Vague and almost formless as this science is, it is full of the 
raw material of the newspaper. Charles Booth's monumental 
seventeen volumes on the life and labor of the people of London, 
with its maps showing block by block where the thrifty workers 
congregate and where live the submerged tenth, where dens of 
vice elbow schools and where the saloon crowds upon the tene- 
ment, are the last condensation of a hundred years of reporting. 
Sociology, the science of the life of man in society, is the sys- 
tematization of facts which it is the daily business of the journal- 
ist to collect. 

The chief difficulty in teaching this science is that it is so very 
broad like a river in flood, without any definite channel. But 

35 



a professor who knows what to leave out can frame a course, 
theoretical and practical, that will be one of the best possible 
introductions to newspaper work. 

Economics Everybody says that a college of journalism should teach 
economics. But how? 

May I not say with confidence that it should not confine itself 
to the old, arid, abstract political economy, but should deal with 
the new play of industrial and commercial forces that is trans- 
forming modern society? 

The relations between capital and labor, for instance. Can a 
journalist be too well informed about that ? There are things 
here of which the old economists, with their " haggling of the 
market " and their " natural laws of wages," never dreamed. 
The Enemies of There are dangers ahead for the Republic. The demagogue 
the Republic j s j n the land. He is trying to array society into two camps. 
There is a new irrepressible conflict which it is folly to ignore. 
The stupendous growth of corporate power ; the enormous 
increase in individual fortunes, combined to control railroad 
systems and industries, defiant of law and destructive of com- 
petition ; the growing inequalities in life, in station and in op- 
portunity; the practical disfranchisement of many millions of 
citizens equal under the Constitution ; the enormous mass of 
illiteracy and political unfitness in the Southern States ; the in- 
tensified antagonism of labor against corporate capital, of em- 
ployees against employers, the growth of corruption in cities - 
aie problems which will tax the wisdom of our statesmen and 
the serene self-confidence of our people. 

This confidence would be sublime if it were not blind ! What 
reason have we for thinking that our Government is exempt from 
the mutations of history? Is not, in fact, our Republic liable to 
popular passion, sitting as it does in a glass house, subject to the 



conflicts, the disturbances and the possible reactions of elections 
every two and four years ? 

A change of 25,000 votes in certain close States in 1896 would 
have put Mr. Bryan into the White House and have given him 
the appointment of three Supreme Court justices. With grow- 
ing discontent, with appeals to ignorance by some newspapers, 
powerfully assisted by the proceedings of some financiers who 
act on the principle, " after us the deluge," who can be so dense 
as not to see the certainty of popular reaction against the money 
power, the rich, especially in hard times? Is it inconceivable 
that an element that could command over six million votes in 
1896 might, under other conditions, secure twenty-five thousand 
more ? Who can be so overconfident of the future as not to see 
that the very fire of liberty, maintained by universal suffrage, 
brings danger every two years or every four years, unless that 
liberty be regulated by law, order, intelligence and self-control ? 

And can we ignore the growing power and intelligence of or- 
ganized labor in any course of economic study? Not only do the 
labor-unions represent organized hostility to organized capital, 
but they now display this very remarkable development that 
they do not represent poor labor, destitute labor, as they formerly 
did and are supposed by some still to do, but what may fairly be 
called semi-capitalistic labor. Is it not most significant that after 
a six months' strike in the anthracite regions, during which the 
idle miners were reported to have drawn a million dollars from 
the funds of their union, that union still has, on the authority of 
Mr. John Mitchell, approximately another million dollars in its 
treasury? The laborers, in- fact, have become semi-capitalists 
through organization. When they are armed with such a weapon, 
with the power of co-operation, with a strong leader, and with at 
least a million of votes for which the politicians of both parties are 

37 



bidding, are there not sufficient possibilities to make the situation 
worth the study of men who assume to be popular teachers ? 

And Socialism ! a new economics in itself treated as beyond 
the pale of respectable discussion a few years ago and now in prin- 
ciple actually triumphant in Germany, France, and even in so con- 
servative a country as England, whose bill for the purchase and 
distribution of landed estates in Ireland is the essence of state 
Socialism, what of that ? The German socialists openly refuse 
to be considered simply as a political party, accepting the present 
situation and trying to improve existing institutions from within. 
They proclaim their purpose as distinctly revolutionary. 

We have socialistic beginnings in America, such as demands 
for the Government ownership of mines and railroads and a pen- 
sion roll on which we have spent three thousand million dollars 
since the civil war, and to which, already containing a million 
names, 300,000 new names have just been added by an act of 
Executive usurpation. But our Socialism has no leaders like 
Jaures and Bebel two of the greatest intellects in Europe. 

How soon shall we have two such men in America not 
gifted merely with Mr. Bryan's talent for oratory, but with sound 
judgment, with stable character, and with sincerity of purpose 
that would give them a hold on the people not to be obtained 
except through that confidence which only such sincerity of 
character and soundness of judgment breed ? 

Arbitration And what are we to say of arbitration, that great engine of 
civilization, belonging equally to economics and to politics, and 
perhaps to ethics, which is daily proving its value as a substitute 
for disturbances, disorder, riot and war ? The very act of sub- 
mitting a dispute to arbitration proves that there is something to 
be said on both sides. The men who arrogantly issue demands 
for which they offer no reason but simple power have " nothing to 



arbitrate." Before an arbitration tribunal questions are discussed 
on their merits. Appeals to prejudice, to class or national ani- 
mosities, to cynical self-interest, are dropped. Every such hearing 
is a lesson in order and civilization. 

There is always a tendency on the part of the weaker side to 
ask for arbitration and on that of the stronger to refuse it. Here 
is the opportunity of the press to bring its moral force into the 
dispute and overcome the obstinacy of brute strength by the pres- 
sure of public opinion. 

The literature of arbitration is already immense. The work- 
ings of experiments in compulsory arbitration, of boards of 
conciliation, of permanent State arbitration tribunals, of standing 
arbitration agreements between labor-unions and employers, and 
of the long line of international settlements leading up to the 
establishment of the world's court of arbitration at The Hague, 
would furnish material in themselves for a full and most valuable 
course of study for a journalist. 

Everybody says that statistics should be taught. But how ? statistics 

Statistics are not simply figures. It is said that nothing lies 
like figures except facts. You want statistics to tell you the 
truth. You can find truth there if you know how to get at it, and 
romance, human interest, humor and fascinating revelations as 
well. The journalist must know how to find all these things 
truth, of course, first. His figures must bear examination. It is 
much better to understate than to overstate his case, so that his 
critics and not himself may be put to confusion when they chal- 
lenge him to verify his comparisons. 

He must not read his statistics blindly; he must be able to test 
them by knowledge and by common sense. He must always be 
on the alert to discover how far they can actually be trusted and 
what they really mean. The analysis of statistics to get at the 

39 



essential truth of them has become a well-developed science 
whose principles are systematically taught. And what a fasci- 
nating science it is ! What romance can equal the facts of our 
national growth ? 

Is it not a stupendous fact that there are 204,000 miles of rail- 
road in the United States (more than in the whole of Europe), 
owned by companies having a total capitalization of more than 
$14,000,000,000, par value, affording livelihood to 5,000,000 of 
persons (employees and their families), and distributing $178,- 
000,000 in dividends to owners and $610,713,701 in wages? 

The flow of our exports, over three thousand millions above 
imports in seven years, does not the imagination see in these 
figures the whole story of the recent forward rush of American 
industry the "American invasion" of Europe and the home- 
ward flight of securities ? And then, are there not interesting 
reflections in the fact that we have spent almost exactly the same 
amount in pensions in the past thirty years ? What a tribute 
to our institutions what hope for the future in the fact that 
18,000,000 pupils are attending school or college! And immi- 
gration, more than 20,000,000 since 1820; nearly a million ar- 
rivals last year a New Zealand swallowed in a year, an Australia 
in four years, surely it looks as if Europe were being transplanted 
bodily to America. But when we remember that the natural 
increase of the population of Europe is about four millions a year 
we may feel reasonably sure that the old continent will always 
have a few people left. 

Modem Everybody says a school of journalism should teach modern 
Languages languages. But which ? 

It cannot treat them as a luxurious culture subject or as a 
mental discipline. It must regard each foreign language as a tool 
a key with which to unlock the life, the literature, the morals 

40 



and the manners of the people that use it. "He who knows no 
other tongue," said Goethe, "knows little of his own." And 
every additional tongue he can master is a new asset for the jour- 
nalist. The special advantage of French is on the side of style. 
Order, precision, lucidity, artistic form, are all French characteris- 
tics, of especial value to the journalist. 

An advantage of German is that it is, above all others, the lan- 
guage of translations. With that you have a key to everything 
else. Everything of importance in every other language, ancient 
or modern, has been translated into German, and translated 
wonderfully well. How much can be done in two or three years 
in the teaching of one or more modern languages as a part of that 
special course is a matter for the Advisory Board and the college 
authorities to consider. 

Everybody says that physical science should be taught. But physical 

how ? Science 

Even when Pope said, "The proper study of mankind is man," 
there were some things outside of himself that were worth a 
little of a philosopher's attention. But in this age it is impossible to 
make even a pretence of intelligence, not to speak of filling the post 
of a public teacher without, at least, a little scientific knowledge. 

The journalist need not be a specialist in science ; he need not 
even follow the ordinary scientific courses at college, which are too 
choked with small details to answer his needs. But ought he not 
to have some bold outlines of the principles of physics, chemistry, 
biology and astronomy, in the light of the latest discoveries, with 
such an introduction to the best authorities on these subjects as 
would enable him to follow them to any further extent by 
himself? 

Everybody says that in the training of a journalist the current The study of 
newspapers must be studied. But how ? Newspapers 

41 



Suppose the managing or chief editor of a great daily, moved 
by a generous zeal for his profession, should give several hours to 
a thorough study of the newspapers of the current day. Then 
let us imagine him saying to a class : " Here is the best and here is 
the worst story of the day" -and telling why. " Here is the 
wrong of the day; here is the injustice that needs to be righted ; 
here is the best editorial ; here is a brilliant paragraph ; here is 
a bit of sentimental trash; here is a superb 'beat'; here is a 
scandalous ' fake ' for which the perpetrator ought to go to Sing 
Sing ; here is a grossly inaccurate and misleading headline ; here is 
an example of crass ignorance of foreign politics ; here is some- 
thing ' crammed ' from an almanac by a man who does not know 
the meaning of figures when he sees them." 

If the editors of twenty of the foremost journals in the country 
should deliver such lectures in turn, " demonstrating " from the 
day's paper as the lecturer in a medical college does from the 
object of his clinic, could a young man worth his room in a news- 
paper office go through a year of their training without learning 
to see and to think ? Would not that course alone be a liberal 
education ? 

The Power p u blic opinion is at once the guide and the monitor of statesmen." ERSKINE MAY. 

of Ideas 

Everybody says that journalistic ideas should be taught. But 
how ? and by whom ? 

Goethe said : " Everything has been thought of before, but the 
difficulty is to think of it again." If everything has been thought 
of before, it can all be recalled and set down in order. You can 
make a list of all the important ideas that brought honor and suc- 
cess in journalism in the last twenty years. Would it be possible 
for anybody, unless he were a fool, to survey for three hundred 
days in the year a procession of ideas on which successful and 

42 



respectable newspapers had been founded and maintained without 
absorbing, digesting, assimilating and unconsciously taking into 
his brain thought which he could apply to his own needs ? 

Fools have had no place in my plans for a college of journalism. 
They belong with the journalists who are " born, not made." 

To think rightly, to think instantly, to think incessantly, to 
think intensely, to seize opportunities when others let them go by 
-this is the secret of success in journalism. To teach this is 
twenty times more important than to teach Latin or Greek. 

Napoleon said that every battle depended upon one thought, 
but that one thought, though seeming to be a sudden inspiration, 
was the result of a whole life of thinking and experience. 

Thought is the only power that has no limits. You may say of 
a steam boiler : " This will develop a thousand horse-power," but 
who can say where the influence of a thought will stop ? 

The French Revolution sprang from the thought of a few men. 
Voltaire, Rousseau and the Encyclopaedists said that the idea of 
the people belonging to the King by divine right was preposter- 
ous ; that the people belonged to themselves. This thought-germ 
floated in the air ; the American Revolution stimulated it, and sud- 
denly the awakened people made the thought a deed. 

An old thought applied to a new situation is new. Robespierre 
spoke of " government of the people, by the people, for the 
people " long before Lincoln was born. Yet who remembers 
Robespierre in connection with that phrase which Lincoln re- 
created and immortalized ? 

Before the days of railroads, of telegraphs or of great industrial 
and commercial combinations a thinker in France attacked corpo- 
rations as a danger to the state, because, having no souls, they 
were destitute of that sense of pride and personal responsibility, 
of individual shame and honor, without which good citizenship is 

48 



impossible. It was the idea of Helvetius that devotion to the 
state is the first duty of patriotism. In his day that idea seemed 
purely theoretical ; corporations were not then really formidable. 
But the thought was sound and the time has come when it is 
practical. 

"There is nothing new under the sun." Mr. Bryan's idea of 
scaling down debts by law is as old as social discontent. If 
he had read history attentively he would not have taken himself 
so seriously as an agitator. His scheme was tried by Lycurgus, 
by Solon, by the Gracchi ; it was part of the programme of Cati- 
line. Even the method of doing it, by depreciating the value of 
the coinage, was applied repeatedly by European kings in the 
Middle Ages and later. 

None of us can hope to be original. We simply take from the 
great stock of old thoughts what suits our purpose, and it 
depends upon ourselves and our training whether we select the 
good or the bad. 

Principles of Everybody says that we should teach the principles and 
journalism me thods of journalism. But how? 

Well, it seems impossible to do so without lectures explaining 
the subject in a systematic way. But would not still more be 
gained from the actual preparation by the students of a newspaper 
to be printed, perhaps, once a week at first, by means of a press 
and plant, for which I have provided, in the college building ? 

Such a paper would give practice in all branches of newspaper 
work editing, reporting, criticising, copy-reading, proof-reading, 
making-up everything, in short, that a young man ought to be 
able to do before he ventures to undertake the work of a jour- 
nalist. It would be under the supervision of a professor who 
would not only wield the pencil as ruthlessly as a real editor does, 
but would also do what the real editor has no time to do tell 

44 



why he did it. Sometimes all the students might be asked to 
write editorials on the same subject, and the best one could be 
printed, with an explanation of the reasons for its selection. 

If the ablest twenty editors in the country, or in the East, or in 
New York, were to consent to take turns once or twice a year in 
analyzing and criticising the paper so produced and the New York 
dailies, putting their best thought and experience into the task, 
the students would have the benefit, not of one mind, but of 
twenty, and these the best in the profession. Would not editors 
in sympathy with the plan do this much as a matter of pride, of 
honor ? By such practice, under such expert criticism, the jour- 
nalist would be trained for work, as the young officer is trained for 
war by military manoeuvres. 

But the object of the course would be always to make real 
editors, to develop right thinking to teach the student that 
what makes a newspaper is not type, nor presses, nor advertising, 
but brains, conscience, character working out into public service. 

But 1 must stop and should perhaps apologize for the inter- Finale 
minable length of this paper, which has exceeded all reasonable 
bounds. The writing of it has convinced me that the two years' 
course of study suggested for the College of Journalism would be 
altogether too short for, after all, we have not yet said anything 
about news. 

It is not that I underestimate its value. News is the life of a 
paper. It is perennially changing more varied than any kaleido- 
scope, bringing every day some new surprise, some new sensation 
always the unexpected. 

But I have no time to treat the subject adequately, and ought to 
confess that the editorial discussion of politics and public questions 
has ever been the matter of deepest personal interest to me. 

News is very interesting, but there are others who no doubt 

45 



will take care of it better than I. Give me a news editor who has 
been well grounded, who has the foundations of accuracy, love of 
truth and an instinct for the public service, and there will be no 
trouble about his gathering the news. 

Public Service " What are great gifts but the correlative of great work ? We are not born for ourselves but for our 

the Supreme kind, for our neighbors, for our country." CARDINAL NEWMAN. 

It has been said by some that my object in founding the College 
of Journalism was to help young men who wish to make this their 
vocation. Others have commended it as an effort to raise journal- 
ism to its real rank as one of the learned professions. This is true. 
But while it is a great pleasure to feel that a large number of 
young men will be helped to a better start in life by means of this 
college, this is not my primary object. Neither is the elevation of 
the profession which I love so much and regard so highly. In all 
my planning the chief end I had in view was the welfare of the 
Republic. It will be the object of the college to make better jour- 
nalists, who will make better newspapers, which will better serve 
the public. It will impart knowledge not for its own sake, but 
to be used for the public service. It will try to develop character, 
but even that will be only a means to the one supreme end the 
public good. We are facing that hitherto unheard-of portent an 
innumerable, world-wide, educated and self-conscious democracy. 
The little revolutions of the past have been effected by a few 
leaders working upon an ignorant populace, conscious only of 
vague feelings of discontent. Now the masses read. They know 
their grievances and their power. They discuss in New York the 
position of labor in Berlin and in Sydney. Capital, too, is de- 
veloping a world-wide class feeling. It likewise has learned the 
power of co-operation. 

What will be the state of society and of politics in this Republic 
seventy years hence, when some of the children now in school 

46 



will be still living ? Shall we preserve the government of the 
Constitution, the equality of all citizens before the law and the 
purity of justice or shall we have the government of either money 
or the mob ? 

The answers to these questions will depend largely upon the 
kind of instruction the people of that day draw from their news- 
papersthe text-books, the orators, the preachers of the masses. 

I have said so much of the need for improvement in journalism 
that to avoid misconception I must put on record my appreciation 
of the really admirable work so many newspaper men are doing 
already. The competent editorial writer, for instance how much 
sound information he furnishes every day ! How generally just 
his judgments are, and how prompt his decisions ! Unknown to 
the people he serves, he is in close sympathy with their feelings 
and aspirations, and when left to himself and unhampered by 
party prejudices he generally interprets their thought as they 
would wish to express it themselves. 

It is not too much to say that the press is the only great organ- 
ized force which is actively and as a body upholding the standard 
of civic righteousness. There are many political reformers among 
the clergy, but the pulpit as an institution is concerned with the 
Kingdom of Heaven, not with the Republic of America. There 
are many public-spirited lawyers, but the bar as a profession works 
for its retainers, and no law-defying trust ever came to grief from 
a dearth of legal talent to serve it. Physicians work for their pa- 
tients and architects for their patrons. The press alone makes the 
public interests its own. "What is everybody's business is no- 
body's business " except the journalist's ; it is his by adoption. 
But for his care almost every reform would fall stillborn. He 
holds officials to their duty. He exposes secret schemes of 
plunder. He promotes every hopeful plan of progress. Without 

47 



him public opinion would be shapeless and dumb. He brings all 
classes, all professions together, and teaches them to act in con- 
cert on the basis of their common citizenship. 

The Greeks thought that no republic could be successfully 
governed if it were too large for all the citizens to come together 
in one place. The Athenian democracy could all meet in the 
popular assembly. There public opinion was made, and accord- 
ingly as the people listened to a Pericles or to a Cleon the state 
flourished or declined. The orator that reaches the American 
democracy is the newspaper. It alone makes it possible to keep 
the political blood in healthful circulation in the veins of a 
continental republic. We have it is unfortunately true a few 
newspapers which advocate dangerous fallacies and falsehoods, ap- 
pealing to ignorance, to partisanship, to passion, to popular preju- 
dice, to poverty, to hatred of the rich, to socialism, sowing the 
seeds of discontent eventually sure, if unchecked, to produce 
lawlessness and bloodshed. Virtue, said Montesquieu, is the prin- 
ciple of a republic, and therefore a republic, which in its purity is the 
most desirable of all forms of government, is the hardest of all to 
preserve. For there is nothing more subject to decay than virtue. 

Our Republic and its press will rise or fall together. An able, 
disinterested, public-spirited press, with trained intelligence to 
know the right and courage to do it, can preserve that public 
virtue without which popular government is a sham and a 
mockery. A cynical, mercenary, demagogic, corrupt press will 
produce in time a people as base as itself. The power to mould 
the future of the Republic will be in the hands of the journalists 
of future generations. This is why I urge my colleagues to aid 
this important experiment. Upon their generous aid and co- 
operation the ultimate success of the project must depend. 

JOSEPH PULITZER. 

48 



The Power of Public Opinion 1 

IN attempting to estimate the sources, the power and limita- 
tions of public opinion it is necessary first to determine what 
public opinion is. Webster defines private opinion as " the judg- 
ment or sentiment which the mind forms of persons or things." 
More broadly, it may be defined as a conviction based on evi- 
dence, an assent secured by argument, or a view acquired, per- 
haps unconsciously, through the reading habit. Public opinion 
may be described as the aggregate of private opinion. It is what 
the mass or the majority believes or feels. A popular government 
is government by public opinion expressed in elections and formu- 
lated in statutes. Public opinion as it regulates the conduct of a 
community is an unwritten law a dominant sentiment repre- 
senting a common agreement or code of morals and manners. 

History shows in nearly every age the force of public opinion. Examples 
In the democratic communities of Greece the great orators mE 
Pericles, Demosthenes and their disciples influenced events 
through their appeals to the people. In Rome public opinion 
was potent alike under the republic and the empire. Mark An- 
tony's harangue, stirring up civil war, was to the populace. It 

1 Reprinted by permission from the Encyclopedia Americana. 
49 



was not until the Reformation in England had finally gained over 
public opinion that it became firmly established. It was respon- 
sible for the civil war, for the reaction in favor of Charles II., for 
the expulsion of James II., his brother and successor, for the 
selection of William of Orange and the introduction of the Hano- 
verian dynasty. Public opinion in England forced upon suc- 
cessive Cabinets the necessity for reform of the franchise and of 
the corn laws. Public opinion directed the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence in this country and sustained the long war for freedom. 
Public opinion was the prime cause of the unification and emanci- 
pation of Italy and of the consolidation of the German Empire. 
Public opinion inspired and carried through the successive revolu- 
tions in France in 1789, 1830, 1848 and 1870. In the latter year 
the fall of the empire and the establishment of the republic was 
effected by a proclamation in the streets and without the shedding 
of blood. 

In every state whose system of government is in essence 
democratic no change of dynasty, of administration, of constitu- 
tion, can be effected that is not directly caused by the operation 
of public opinion. In modern government public opinion is 
effective in exact ratio to the freedom of the people. Jefferson 
called public opinion "that lord of the universe." But it is not 
lord in Russia, for it is fettered there. Wendell Phillips, at the 
height of the anti-slavery agitation in New England, said if he 
lived in Russia he should be an Anarchist, because in that land 
there was "no free press, no Faneuil Hall, no ballot-box." But 
in a country like ours, where, as General Grant said, "the will of 
the people is the law of the land," it is highly important to know 
what are the creative causes of public opinion. When is it to be 
followed and when opposed ? What is the best method of influ- 
encing it ? How shall it be directed to produce practical results ? 

60 



Public opinion as a moral and political force finds its inspiration The Press 
and its expression in the press and on the platform. Gutenberg as its 
was the founder of modern public opinion. The printing press Ins P iration 
was a most important factor in disseminating the religious views Expression 
advocated by the Reformers and in thus fashioning a supporting 
public opinion. The spoken words of Luther reached only the few ; 
printed they reached the many. Thousands of tracts and pam- 
phlets were scattered throughout Germany, carrying the thought- 
germs of the new religious ideas. With the advent of the 
newspaper there began to be felt in the world a new power- 
"the mightiest ever known for the creation, development and 
direction of the greatest of modern forces majority public 
opinion." 

The astute De Tocqueville said : " A newspaper can drop the 
same thought into a thousand minds at the same moment." But 
now one newspaper can drop the same thought into a million 
minds on the same day. In 1900, according to the census of that 
year, the 2,226 daily newspapers of this country had an aggregate 
circulation of 15,102,156 copies. The total circulation per issue of 
all newspapers and periodicals was 1 14,299,334, and the aggregate 
number of copies circulated in a year reached the almost incon- 
ceivable total of 8, 168, 148,749. Nearly one thousand of the prin- 
cipal daily papers of the country, with an aggregate circulation of 
more than 13,000,000, belong to one great news organization 
the Associated Press of the United States. They receive the same 
despatches, covering every habitable quarter of the globe. The 
same facts, the same condensations of news and views, are 
" dropped into the mind " of these millions of readers on the 
same day. 

This instantaneous and constant enlightenment of the people 
as to the affairs of our own country and of the world was what 

51 



the writer had in view in saying, ten years ago : " Publicity is the 
greatest moral factor and force in the universe." President Eliot 
of Harvard expressed the same view, seven years later, in saying : 
*' Publicity is the great security for democracy, the best weapon 
against political, social, industrial or commercial wrong-doing, 
and in the long run the most trustworthy means of political 
and social progress." And Justice Brewer, of the United States 
Supreme Court, in a brief but pregnant statement on "the effect 
of a free press on American life," written for the New York World, 
spoke of the service of the press " in the evolution of the court of 
public opinion, that court mightier than any organized tribunal, at 
whose bar are judged all men, events and parties." 
is the It is sometimes said by superficial observers that the influence 
of the press is declining. How can it decline when its character 
Declining? nas steadily improved and its aggregate circulation has enor- 
mously increased ? Have facts lost their power ? Does informa- 
tion no longer promote intelligence ? Are men less responsive 
than formerly to sound arguments and sensible appeals ? Thirty 
years ago an eminent bishop of the Episcopal Church said : " It is 
the press that creates public opinion. It is the grand fact of the 
hour that popular sentiment has been educated by the press up to 
the point of spurning party trammels and voting on principle." 

If this were true in 1873 how much more universally true is it 
now ! Nearly every great newspaper in this country to-day is 
independent financially and politically. The last six Presidential 
elections have been decided by the independent vote, led by the 
independent press. 

The result of the municipal election in the city of New York in 
1903, when the Tammany candidate for Mayor was elected by a 
plurality of 62,000, in spite of the practically united opposition 
of the press of the city, has been cited as evidence that the 

53 



newspapers have not the influence commonly attributed to them. 
It is to be noted, however, that the Democratic majority was re- 
duced one-half from that secured in the preceding year ; that in 
the city there are tens' of thousands of illiterate voters who are 
not susceptible to the arguments or appeals of the press ; that an 
even greater number cannot read, and that a very large proportion 
of the total number of voters are impervious to argument in an 
election by reason of their ingrained but honest partisanship or by 
a selfish interest in the success of the ticket of their choice as 
the saloon-keepers and their patrons, the law-breaking classes, 
the office-seekers, etc. That in a total vote of nearly 600,000, 
representing a normal Democratic majority of 120,000, a non- 
partisan ticket needed only 5 per cent, more of the vote to have 
triumphed is really a tribute to the influence of the press, par- 
ticularly in the light of the strange mistake made in defying public 
opinion by strictly enforcing obsolete puritanical Sunday laws 
which the majority of the cosmopolitan people of the city regard 
as odious infringements of their personal liberty. 

The journalist acts upon and through public opinion, and The 
therefore, from his point of view, the development of public opjn- Controlling 
ion is the central thread of history. It is inseparably connected ^donaT 
with the growth of his own profession. History is filled with ac- Affairs 
counts of wars and their causes, but to the journalist the re- 
markable point in that relation is the fact that wars used to be 
made by individual caprice, while to-day no great duel between 
nations can be begun or carried on without the support of public 
opinion. For example, in 1870 Napoleon III. and King William 
were in legal theory the war lords of France and Prussia. Per- 
sonally they both sincerely wanted peace, yet they could not 
have it. Bismarck wanted war, and he got it by manipulating 
public opinion, which was stronger than the monarchs. He 

53 



excited the French by permitting the candidature of a Hohenzollern 
prince for the throne of Spain. Then that was withdrawn and 
Bismarck seemed checkmated. He and his associates of the Prus- 
sian war party, Moltke and Roon, were in despair, when Napo- 
leon III. fatuously helped them by demanding an assurance that no 
Hohenzollern ever would accept the Spanish throne in the future. 
Benedetti, the French Ambassador, stopped King William on the 
Parade at Ems to urge this demand, and the King, losing patience, 
turned his back. The Parisian press raged at this " insult to 
France," while Bismarck, by some judicious alterations in the de- 
spatch in which the King had described this incident, made it 
appear that the French Government had insulted the Prussian 
sovereign, and the German press was ablaze. Public opinion was 
roused now in both countries, and two almost absolute monarchs 
were forced to yield to it and go to war against their own desires. 

In Morley's " Life of Gladstone " it is recorded that Lord Aber- 
deen suffered "incessant self-reproach " for not having striven 
harder to prevent the Crimean war ; and he asked Mr. Gladstone, 
who was a member of his Cabinet, whether he did not think that 
he (Lord Aberdeen) " might withdraw from office when we came 
to the declaration of war," as "all along he had been acting 
against his feelings." Mr. Gladstone, though sympathizing with 
Lord Aberdeen's antipathy to any except defensive war, said of 
the war against Russia : "The government are certainly giving 
effect to the public opinion of the day." 

Many honest Democrats in America, and even some Republi- 
cans, doubted the wisdom of opposing secession by war. At the 
time of his inauguration President Lincoln had no conception of 
the terrible task before him. He thought in his first call upon the 
nation for troops that he was going to suppress the rebellion in 
three months with 75,000 men an incredible blunder when it is 

54 



remembered that the total number of men engaged on the Union 
side during the four years of war became 2,772,408. The press 
did its duty in that time of danger and doubt. But suppose it 
had not ; suppose it had left public opinion apathetic would 
Lincoln have dared to enforce the draft ? Would he have dared 
to call out half the men of military age in the North ? Would he 
have ventured to issue the Emancipation Proclamation ? Would 
he not have offered compromises and concessions for the sake of 
peace ? The public opinion of the North carried on the war for 
the Union. Lincoln, great genius and matchless leader though he 
was, was its masterful instrument. 

In surveying the growing power of public opinion the jour- 
nalist must become impressed with a sense of the grave responsi- 
bility resting upon all who have any share in the guidance of that 
mighty force. If he have imagination enough to picture to him- 
self the consequences of inciting national animosities if he can 
track reckless words to the grim realities that follow them, on the 
battlefield and in widowed homes, must he not recoil with horror 
and indignation from wanton provocation to war ? 

President McKinley was opposed to the war with Spain and, 
mild-mannered as he was, resisted Congress and the popular sen- 
timent as long as he dared. Yet in the end he had to yield his 
well-known and freely expressed convictions to the demand of 
the public and the press, while Congress "held a stop-watch" 
on him to see that the yielding was not delayed. A less striking 
but still significant example is the historic fact that Mr. McKinley, 
who as a Representative in Congress voted for the free and unlim- 
ited coinage of silver in 1877, became the candidate and champion 
of the gold standard party in 1896, owing to the change of public 
sentiment on this question in his own State and in the nation. 

In our labor wars, too, public opinion presses with a force 

55 



that is not to be resisted. In the great coal strike of 1902 the 
operators, the financial interests, the conservative business men, 
were almost without exception opposed to arbitration. Many ap- 
peals to arbitrate were rejected, yet in the end both sides sub- 
mitted. To what ? To the President of the United States ? No ! 
To public opinion, whose effective instrument the President was, 
and whose condemnation neither side dared to face. The Presi- 
dent would never have ventured to take the initiative in the un- 
precedented, extraconstitutional course he adopted if the popular 
voice had not encouraged him ; nor would he have been listened 
to if he had. 

We witnessed in England, in 1903, a most remarkable example 
of the development of public opinion. It was proposed to change 
the British tariff. Some centuries ago this would have been done 
by the King or his Minister ; later by Parliament. Now it was ad- 
mitted on all hands that neither the King nor Parliament should 
have the determining voice in the decision. The House of Com- 
mons was gagged and the whole discussion was addressed to the 
people. Mr. Chamberlain resigned his place in the Ministry on 
the ground, frankly admitted, that public opinion at the time was 
against his policy. The Prime Minister accepted his resignation 
with great regret for the same reason. Then Mr. Chamberlain set 
himself to convert the nation, and we see at this writing going on 
before us, with no election pending, the unprecedented spectacle 
of an appeal to public opinion outside of Parliament that may alter 
the commercial relations of the world. 

Editorial Ex-President Cleveland has expressed his belief that " as a 
influence g enera | ru i e the influence of newspapers in leading the judgments 
and determining the conduct of their readers has greatly dimin- 
ished in recent years." There are more newspapers now than 
there were fifty years ago, and it is creditable to public opinion if 

56 



it is unaffected by and even despises the teachings of many of 
them ; for if it responded to their appeals its impulses would 
often be desperately bad and dangerous to the Republic. The 
influence of partisan and ''organic" journalism has no doubt de- 
clinedgreatly to the advantage both of the press and the 
country. But to say that the influence of Publicity has declined 
is equivalent to saying that the sun increases darkness ; that facts 
and truth lose their effect in proportion as they become more 
widely disseminated. 

Editorial influence the power of the opinions of the paper as 
distinguished from its news now depends almost altogether 
upon public confidence in the honesty, the freedom, the fearless- 
ness and the moral purpose of the journal itself. The people 
have become very discriminating in this matter. They can de- 
tect the advocate of selfish syndicates as well as the equally self- 
ish demagogue and blatant shouter against them. They have 
shown their appreciation of and confidence in newspapers that are 
absolutely independent and inflexible in their devotion to what 
they believe to be right that "expose all frauds and shams and 
fight all public evils and abuses " without fear and without favor. 

There have been too many notable instances of the influence of 
newspapers in forming and leading public opinion by their editorial 
utterances to leave any reasonable doubt as to the continued ex- 
istence of this power. And this power will persist and increase 
precisely in proportion to the fidelity of the newspapers to the 
ideal and the duty of making the press a moral force in the com- 
munity, serving and battling for the people with entire sincerity, 
disinterestedness, freedom and fearlessness. The question 
whether public opinion, however formed and guided, is always 
to be respected and obeyed admits of but one rational answer. 
The theory that "the voice of the people is the voice of God" 

57 



can be accepted only with important reservations. As public 
opinion is a variable quantity, often, as Jefferson said, "changing 
with the rapidity of thought," it cannot possibly always be right. 
Was "the voice of the people the voice of God" when it sus- 
tained human slavery in a republic dedicated to freedom ? Was 
public opinion infallible when it sanctioned the instant enfran- 
chisement of a race just freed from the ignorance and barbarism 
of slavery? Or is it right now in practically acquiescing in the 
disfranchisement of the same race after a generation of freedom 
and progress in which their right to the suffrage has been guaran- 
teed by the Constitution ? There are often errors of interpretation 
by those who are most anxious to go with the multitude. Mr. 
Bryan mistook the hysteria of the Chicago Convention for a cry 
of the people for cheap money. 

No! nothing is more clear than that it is often the highest 
duty of the press to oppose public opinion. James Bryce has 
truly said that " Democracies will always have demagogues ready 
to feed their vanity and stir passions and exaggerate the feeling of 
the moment. What they need is men who will swim against the 
stream, will tell them their faults, will urge an argument all the 
more forcibly because it is unwelcome." 

Public opinion rightly informed is our court of last appeal. An 
appeal may always be safely made to it against all the public 
wrongs, official corruption, popular apathy or administrative 
faults ; and an honest press is the effective instrument in making 
this appeal. 

specific In the days of the Tweed Ring corruption rioted in the plunder 
instances o f ^ e c j tv treasury, and as the Ring was in possession of all the 
administrative machinery and the courts the people seemed help- 
less. But the New York Times exposed the evil with relentless 
severity and brought to bear the public opinion that routed the 

58 



robbers. Tweed died in prison, and his associates sought safety 
in foreign countries as fugitives from justice. Another notable 
agitation of public opinion toward the correction of great abuses, 
the Lexow investigation, was due to the combined endeavors of 
the whole press of New York City in exposing the infamous con- 
dition of our police system. 

The Beef Trust, organized to enhance the price of food and 
thus to enrich a great corporation by the oppression of the people, 
was exposed and defeated by the appeal of the New York Herald 
to the same great tribunal of public opinion. At a moment when 
doubt was prevalent and public opinion was peculiarly in need 
of enlightenment touching dangerous propositions regarding the 
currency, the Evening Post did splendid service in fighting for 
the maintenance of the gold standard. 

Upon the publication of President Cleveland's Venezuelan 
message the New York World appealed to the good sense of the 
country against the war spirit which it was calculated to arouse. 
Opinions were invited and received by cable from the present 
King of England, from Mr. Gladstone, the Archbishop of Canter- 
bury and many other dignitaries of the church and state in Great 
Britain, disavowing any hostile intentions toward the United States 
and professing the warmest sentiments of kinship and friendship. 
Public opinion in this country instantly responded to these fra- 
ternal expressions, and the talk of war ended in preliminaries for 
arbitration. 

To reveal public opinion through interviews and special tele- 
grams and promptly publish it is one of the most useful functions 
of the press. In 1895, deluded by the report that a certain syndicate 
had control of all the gold in the country, the Government was 
prepared to sell to that syndicate its bonds for $100,000,000 at 
104^. But a telegram sent by the New York World to 14,000 

59 



banks brought 7,100 replies within twelve hours, and more than 
$235,000,000 in gold was offered to the Government in exchange 
for its bonds. As a result President Cleveland annulled the secret 
contract with the private syndicate and issued a call for popular 
subscriptions. The entire issue was subscribed for six times over 
at a price of about 1 12 instead of 104$, the syndicate's offer, a gain 
to the Treasury of more than $7,000,000. 

Agitation for a law taxing franchises was begun by The World 
newspaper in the winter of 1899. It tabulated the value of the 
franchises for the use of the public streets by street railways, gas 
companies, etc., from which the corporations reaped enormous 
profits and paid New York City practically nothing. Day after 
day the facts and figures were printed showing the magnitude of 
the injustice. A bill to tax the franchises as property was intro- 
duced in the State Senate. Petitions for its passage were circu- 
lated by the newspaper and received within a week 30,000 
signatures. A special train was despatched from New York City 
to Albany, bearing delegates from organizations of workingmen 
and taxpayers representing 250,000 citizens and property valued 
at $80,000,000, to demand a report of the bill from the legislative 
committee in which corporation and political influence had tied it 
up. Many other newspapers of New York came to the support 
of the movement, and Governor Roosevelt, as a result of this agi- 
tation, gave his official and personal influence in its behalf through 
a special message to the Legislature, which secured its passage. 

Here was a concrete example of a right principle, based on 
justice and advocated with untiring persistence. It is such agita- 
tion as this that informs, arouses and leads public opinion in 
achieving reforms. 

The necessity and the power of persistence and reiteration in 
attempts to create and to render effective public opinion are not 

60 



sufficiently appreciated by the press or by individual reformers. 
To arrest the attention, convince the judgment and enlist the 
sympathetic support of that great inert mass which we call the 
Public is a delicate and difficult task. The press, as the chief 
medium of Publicity, is alone equal to it. And as the press does 
this work intelligently, conscientiously, courageously, dissemi- 
nating intelligence as the sun diffuses light, so shall the power 
of public opinion make for justice in government, for purity in 
politics and for a higher morality in the business and social life of 
the nation. 



61 



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